UK public services struggling despite near 70-year tax high, report warns
UK public services can no longer match people’s expectations despite the tax burden being on course to hit a 70-year high, a think tank report has warned.
Government decisions to date have done “little to shift the dial,” the Institute for Government (IfG) and CIPFA warned today in their latest performance tracker on the state-run sector.
It comes as the UK is forecast to see taxes as a share of GDP hit a post-WWII high in 2025, under current policies, to help pay for a borrowing surge to cope with the economic fallout of the pandemic.
The document looked at the state of services across GP practices, hospitals, adult and children’s social care, local councils, schools, police, courts and prisons.
Researchers found funding increases in the government’s autumn financial statement were not high enough to return services to their pre-pandemic levels before the next election.
While the government’s strategy on widespread industrial action by communications, postal, rail and public sector staff has “exacerbated existing staffing problems”, the report warned.
However, after Office for National Statistics numbers confirmed the UK has borrowed £30bn less than the Office for Budget Responsibility forecast in November, Sunak and Jeremy Hunt are reportedly exploring a five per cent pay rise for workers in a bid to end the walkouts.
IfG director Nick Davies said: “Covid recovery has been hampered by the government’s counterproductive strikes strategy, with substantially below inflation pay offers exacerbating the serious workforce problems.”
Jeffrey Matsu, chief economist at CIPFA, added: “The quality and breadth of services that people have come to expect no longer matches what the public purse can afford – despite taxes at a 70 year high.”
No10 has been approached for comment.